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World Cup: Paraguay’s gain is Spain’s loss.

By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service

(Wednesday, June 24, 1998) -- Spain is the "Colombia" of the 1998 World Cup.

Thought by many to be a serious title contender, it finally awoke today -- but too late, failing to advance to the second round, following in the footsteps of Colombia, which crashed in 1994 despite high expectations.

Spain routed aging Bulgaria 6-1. But Paraguay -- winless in 11 international matches including six ties this year -- downed Nigeria 3-1, with the Group D champion sitting out seven starters, to clinch the runnerup berth.

"I am sad, but life goes on," Spain coach Javier Clemente said.

Paraguay, scoreless the first two World Cup matches, both draws, got a goal after 51 seconds on a header by Celso Ayala off a Francisco Arce free kick. "Finally the goal arrived," said Miguel Benitez, who went on to get the winning goal on a brilliant 22-yard shot in the 59th minute.

Nigeria quickly tied the game, and only spectacular goalkeeper by Jose Luis Chilavert kept Paraguay even the rest of the first half.

Paraguay applied the pressure most of the second half against a defense including two players from Major League Soccer -- Uche Okafor of Kansas City Wizards and Ben Iroha, formerly of (Washington) D.C. United -- that tired in the late going.

France, which went with eight new starters, won its third straight, downing second-place Denmark, 2-1, as both teams qualified from Group C.

But the big news, at least for MLS fans, came in the other contest, when Shaun Bartlett, in his first start, scored twice for South Africa in a 2-2 draw against Saudi Arabia. He formerly played with the Colorado Rapids and New York/New Jersey MetroStars.

Another former MLS regular, Doctor Khumalo of the Columbus Crew, played half of the second half.

Second round pairings: Denmark vs. Nigeria; France vs. Paraguay.

Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at

Group C

France 2, Denmark 1
in Lyon

France -- Fabien Barthez, Christian Karembeu, Franck Leboeuf, Marcel Desailly, Vincent Candela, Emmanuel Petit (Alain Boghossian 65), Patrick Vieira, Bernard Diomede, Robert Pires (Thierry Henri 72), Youri Djorkaeff, David Trezeguet (Stephane Guivarc'h 86).
Denmark -- Peter Schmeichel, Marc Rieper, Jes Hogh, Jan Heintze, Jacob Laursen (Soren Colding 46), Michael Schjonberg, Thomas Helveg, Allan Nielsen, Martin Jorgensen (Ebbe Sand 55), Michael Laudrup, Brian Laudrup (Stig Tofting 75).
Goals: France - Youri Djorkaeff 13 (penalty kick), Emmanuel Petit 56. Denmark - Michael Laudrup 42 (penalty kick).
Shots at goal: France 22, Denmark 7.
Shots on goal: France 13, Denmark 5.
Yellow caution cards: France - Bernard Diomede 53, Patrick Vieira 62. Denmark - Soren Colding 65, Stig Tofting 78.
Referee: Pierluigi Collina (Italy).
Attendance: 44,000 (estimated).

South Africa 2, Saudi Arabia 2
in Bordeaux

South Africa -- Hans Vonk, Mark Fish, Pierre Issa, Willem Jackson (Delron Buckley 46), David Nyathi, Lucas Radebe, Helman Mkhalele, John Moshoeu, Quinton Fortune (Doctor Khumalo 67), Shaun Bartlett, Benedict McCarthy (Jerry Sikhosana 46).
Saudi Arabia -- Mohammed Al-Deayea, Mohammed Al-Jahani, Abdullah Zubramawi, Hussein Sulimani, Khamis Al-Owairan, Hamzah Saleh, Nawaf Al-Temiyat, Fuad Amin, Sami Al-Jaber, Fahad Al-Mehallel (Ibrahim Al-Shahrani 65), Youssef Al-Thyniyan (Ibrahim Al-Harbi 81).
Goals: South Africa - Shaun Bartlett 19, 90 (penalty kick). Saudi Arabia - Sami Al-Jaber 45 (penalty kick), Youssef Al-Thyniyan 73 (penalty kick).
Shots at goal: Saudi Arabia 11, South Africa 21.
Shots on goal: ®¯Saudi Arabia 5, South Africa 12.
Yellow caution cards: Saudi Arabia - Khamis Al-Owairan 30. South Africa - Quinton Fortune 37, Lucas Radebe 65.
Referee: Mario Sanchez Yanten (Chile).
Attendance: 36,500 (estimated).

Group D

Spain 6, Bulgaria 1
in Lens

Spain -- Andoni Zubizarreta, Rafael Alkorta, Sergi, Carlos Aguilera, Miguel Angel Nadal, Fernando Hierro, Guillermo Amor, Luis Enrique (Julen Guerrero 70), Francisco Morientes, Alfonso (Kiko 65), Joseba Etxeberria (Raul 52).
Bulgaria -- Zdravko Zdravkov, Trifon Ivanov, Radostin Kishishev, Ivailo Yordanov, Gosho Ginchev, Krassimir Balakov (Marian Hristov 60), Anatoli Nankov (Lyuboslav Penev 29), Daniel Borimirov, Georgi Bachev, Emil Kostadinov, Hristo Stoichkov (Ilian Iliev 46).
Goals: Spain - Fernando Hierro 6 (penalty kick), Luis Enrique 18, Francisco Morientes 53, 81; Kiko 88, 90. Bulgaria - Emil Kostadinov 57.
Shots at goal: Spain 23, Bulgaria 19.
Shots on goal: Spain 16, Bulgaria 14.
Yellow caution cards: Spain - Carlos Aguilera 17, Julen Guerrero 74. Bulgaria - Lyuboslav Penev 47, Georgi Bachev 85.
Referee: Mario van der Ende (Netherlands).
Attendance: 41,275 (estimated).

Paraguay 3, Nigeria 1
in Toulouse

Paraguay -- Jose Luis Chilavert, Francisco Arce, Carlos Gamarra, Celso Ayala, Pedro Sarabia, Denis Caniza (Juan Carlos Yegros 55), Carlos Paredes, Miguel Benitez (Roberto Acuna 68), Julio Cesar Enciso, Hugo Brizuela (Aristides Aranda Rojas 78), Jose Cardozo.
Nigeria -- Peter Rufai, Augustine Eguavoen, Ben Iroha, Uche Okafor, Taribo West, Tijani Babangida, Nwankwo Kanu, Garba Lawal, Sunday Oliseh (Godwin Okpara 46), Wilson Oruma (Finidi George 69), Rashidi Yekini.
Goals: Paraguay - Celso Ayala 1, Miguel Benitez 59, Jose Cardozo 86. Nigeria - Wilson Oruma 10.
Shots at goal: Paraguay 14, Nigeria 14.
Shots on goal: Paraguay 9, Nigeria 11.
Yellow caution cards: Nigeria - Augustine Eguavoen 26, Ben Iroha 39.
Referee: Pirom Un-Prasert (Thailand).
Attendance: 37,500 (estimated).